Students embrace fun/Bible teaching at Super Summer Kids camp

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First-person account

LAKE YALE— What do you get when you mix together 300 kids, representing 17 Florida Baptist churches, with 13 college students and numerous church leaders in an outdoor setting for four days?

You get Super Summer Kids camp, a fun and spiritually rich experience for students who have completed third through sixth grades.

Super Summer Kids
Students enjoyed visiting the Snack Shack during Hang Time.

The camp, first held in 2019, offers opportunity for the Florida Baptist Convention to come right beside church leaders who help plan and promote the camp, said Nathan Schneider, Florida Baptists’ next gen ministries catalyst.

This year’s July 11-14 camp, which I experienced firsthand, featured not only plenty of fun activities but also solid Bible teaching. My time at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center for this camp reminded me that even amid the turmoil we face in the world, God is still God, and He is moving in mighty ways.

The camp’s theme, Ready, Set, Go, focused on the story of Moses. During Bible study sessions, students learned that God had a plan for Moses and prepared him with the skills and tools needed to carry out that plan.

Brandon Arnold, keynote speaker and minister of music and worship at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, captured the students’ attention and delivered nightly messages to build on what camp leaders taught in their group sessions. Encouraging group participation as he spoke, Arnold led students to understand biblical truths, such as sin, repentance and miracles.

Hannah Webb, a student at the Baptist College of Florida and member of First Baptist Church in Chipley, found it rewarding to see students make connections between the Old and New Testaments.

“When we talked about Passover and how the Israelites had to mark their doors with the blood of a perfect lamb, I had one student open his eyes wide and ask, ‘Is that why Jesus is called the Lamb of God?’ Just seeing him make that connection was awesome,” she shared.

Super Summer Kids
Students take a water break during morning recreation.

DeeAnah Shenning, who teaches English to elementary students and attends First Baptist Church in Palmetto, celebrated as she saw the seed of the gospel begin to sprout in her group. A longtime Bible teacher, she often felt like she had been watering and adding soil to a seed that others had planted before her, but she never really got to see the results that would come later, she said. At camp, she saw children begin to respond to the gospel and make decisions to follow Christ.

Maurine Victor, who serves as church photographer at Sarasota Baptist Church, taught students about photography during her breakout sessions. Armed with cameras and notebooks, her students ventured through the Lake Yale grounds and took pictures of flowers, their friends, themselves and even other breakout sessions happening nearby. While looking over their shots, Victor and I were impressed by how good they were.

“They are naturals,” she commented.

Whenever you have 300 children together at summer camp, forget about downtime. Just about every hour overflowed with activities, with students not only present but also actively participating. Despite the heat and humidity, students, camp leaders, and church volunteers played an intense game of organized mass chaos (a first for me), enjoyed canoe rides, climbed ropes, played basketball and flag football, and tried archery. Even when the Florida weather chased us indoors, fun activities, such as the silent disco, kept students engaged.

In conversations with camp leaders like Webb and Shenning, I learned that most of them had learned about the camp through their churches. When asked why they chose to spend a week of their summer with kids, they all responded that they had a desire to serve God and that Super Summer Kids camp seemed like a good opportunity to do so.

By the last day of camp, five students had made professions of faith, and 12 had made rededication decisions.

Next year’s Super Summer Kids camp is scheduled for July 17-20, 2023. For more information, go to Watch the 2022 recap video here.

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